Quercus, trade paperback, 353 pages, €13.49
Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds and his wife Louise are at his old friend and former boss Sean McGuinness’s home when the lunch party is interrupted by an urgent call from one of his investigators.
The body of a young woman has been discovered buried in a shallow grave in the popular tourist beauty spot, Glendalough. Reynold’s first thought is that the victim might be Fiona Holland, a young woman reported missing in Meath a week ago. But when he arrives at the scene, he and the other members of the murder-investigation group are shocked to discover another four graves close by.
The bodies are all those of young women who disappeared in recent years, and the evidence suggests that they are dealing with a serial killer who hunts down vulnerable women and holds them captive for a time before killing them.
The dead women are eventually identified after an exhaustive trawl through the Garda’s missing persons files, and it is established that the only thing they have in common is that all but one of them had a reputation of enjoying a good time — as, indeed, had the missing Fiona.
What follows is an extremely wellwritten police procedural with more than enough twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. DI Reynold’s difficulties with his new boss, the underachieving and overambitious Superintendent Joe Kennedy — a job he’d turned down — are well drawn and believable, and problems such as entrenched attitudes and outright misogyny among older gardaí are tackled head on. This third Inspector Reynolds mystery establishes former Dáil economic advisor Spain as one of our most promising new thriller writers.